When you’re looking to open a savings or checking account at a new bank, choose a bank that offers low fees, flexible banking options and products that meet your needs.
GOBankingRates’ Best Banks of 2017 study ranked 72 national banks and 28 online-only banks based on high yields, range of products, customer service and several other factors. While it’s tough to compare all of these banks’ offerings, you can look for a few key features to find your ideal bank:
ATTRACTIVE INTEREST RATES
The Federal Reserve interest rate hikes of 2017 have resulted in banks offering savings products with higher interest rates. Synchrony Bank was named the Best Savings Account of 2017 because it carries a 1.05 annual percentage yield with no minimum deposit. IncredibleBank offers a savings account with a 1.11 annual percentage yield but requires a minimum deposit of $2,500.
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INTEREST-BEARING CHECKING ACCOUNTS
Your savings account doesn’t have to be your only account that bears interest. Many banks offer preferred checking accounts such as money market accounts that let you earn interest on your balance and avoid monthly service fees if you meet certain criteria. Accounts like these can be valuable if you tend to maintain a high balance in an active checking account throughout the year and don’t want to leave that money in a high-yield savings account.
In addition to scoping out interest rates, you’ll want to find an account with no fees. Many banks offer no-fee checking accounts to stay competitive and many will waive the fees on other accounts if you meet average daily balance requirements.
If you find that you frequently use ATMs not provided by your bank, open an account with a bank that waives all your ATM surcharge fees no matter where you go. You might need to earn the privilege by being a loyal customer or earning a certain status, but the effort can pay off. For example, Bank of America Preferred Rewards clients get all ATM fees reimbursed – even if they withdraw cash from a competing bank.
NO MINIMUM BALANCE REQUIREMENTS
Some banks have minimum account balance requirements. If your cash flow requires low account balances on occasion, look for banks that don’t have any minimum balance requirements on their accounts.
SECURE ONLINE BANKING FEATURES
You don’t have to worry about making it to the bank before it closes when you have an online bank account you can access 24/7. Whether you choose an exclusively online bank or open a bank account at a brick-and-mortar bank that offers secure online banking services, look for the one that offers hassle-free online transactions, such as smartphone check depositing, online transfers and other convenient services.